Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rest - a Parasympathetic imperative!

Last night I actually got to bed before midnight!
Burning the candle at both ends has worm me down... way, way down! I have ignored all the signs and laughed at suggestions that I get some rest. I don't operate heavy machinery, I sit in an office for most of the day, who should care if I stay up every now and then? Surely I'm entitled to a little bit of me time!

Well every now and then has once again become every night! After a day sitting, mostly at the computer I come home, get straight into taking care of kids and family and once they are all settled and sleeping, the adolescent in me says great! Now it's my time! And so I switch on the computer and catch up on all the stuff I'd really like to be doing if I had more time! I convince myself that there's no harm in it but I recently read an article in Kindred magazine titled A Place to Rest that made reference to the Parasympathetic Nervous System. 
My lifestyle would appear pretty easy to most people but the reality is that I am suffering from stress! TRUE!
Having virtually collapsed from unhealthy exhaustion last night the article reminded me of all the aspects of life I've been pushing to the side for too long. Physical exertion, meditation and most importantly some healthy Rest! I have refused to rest! I know I need it but I've fueled myself on caffeine and insisted on getting my fair share of time to do what I like! The problem is that the most available time, when I don't have other commitments is late at night when everyone is asleep... and when I should be too! I have no energy to actually do anything so I jump on the computer! I can defrag the computer but my mind remains over wound.
I have never coped well with sitting around at other people's leisure! Not that I have miles of strength or energy but I am one of those people who is much better off put to productive use! The sedentary life is like a slow death! I enjoy the comfort of working in an office and I love my family but I respond to captivity like an animal caged. I have developed a neurosis! Reading this article which mentions the Parasympathetic Nervous System reminded me of the harm I know my lifestyle is doing to me... It's gotta change!

Well actually it is changing, little by little. Just for today I have managed to counter this problem! (I say as I type about it so close to midnight!) Today I spent the whole day outside with my boy! It was hot and we sweated... Spending the morning laboring down at our community garden in Nightcliff was a great way to exercise the demons of idleness! Then off to the pool for a swimming lesson, followed by a fairly long cruise along the foreshore on our bike, visiting a friend and eventually returning home at about 4pm exhausted (and sunburned...). Physically exhausted and completely happy. Ready to rest! As my boy gets older I am gradually finding ways to get us both out there. I think he's a lot like me and enjoys the stimulus of being amongst the plants, working in the soil, meeting the Frilled Necked Lizards, the people and the weather!

This morning it rained on us while we rode down McMillans Rd. We sang and laughed as we cycled through the tropical shower. When we arrived at the garden it was hot but we were happy to see the chooks and eat snake beans off the vine! We inspected the Banana Circle that we'd help to make the week before and found the compost rich and steaming, full of life! The boy happily wandered off to find lizards and collect cicada shells while I cut bamboo and chatted with my gardening friends... As far as I can tell this is about the best way to prevent:
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Muscle tension, pain, and headaches
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Memory impairment
  • Worsening of skin conditions, such as eczema

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Inattention, lack of focus
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Sadness, depression, and lack of motivation
  • Over-eating or under-eating
  • Smoking, drug, and alcohol abuse
(List of ailments as per that article in the Kindred magazine)

It's been really difficult to get any time to Rest at home since we had the kids, (Several years) Today was one of the few days in all of that time when I could actually lay down on the bed for half an hour, during the day without having to break up a fight, change a nappy, prepare someones food, or attend to any number of other domestic responsibilities or demands. I actually managed to get half an hour of real Rest! BLISS!
Now that the boy is getting older we may be stepping into a new phase of family life. My mission will be to wear him and myself out physically whenever the opportunity avails. This will be our path to peace!

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